I’d like to share a word of advice to anyone grieving:
1- People will forget you are grieving about a week and a half after the funeral. So sorry, you can’t change this part. But you can know in advance that you will need to set boundaries and really keep a handle on yourself and how you feel and what you need.
2- Try not to punch people in the face when they say “I’VE BEEN THROUGH what you’re going through”or “I Know EXACTLY how you feel…” Jail won’t help your mood, I promise.
3- Everyone will say to you – “you need to take care of yourself”, but they only mean it if they don’t need something for themselves from you. Once your grieving becomes inconvenient for them (which is most everybody) then they will demand you be present for what they need and then you can return to your “grief”. Know how to set your boundaries.
4- If it is a serious loss that you feel a huge hole in your life from, be prepared to feel like the Grand Canyon has been blown wide open in your chest. Don’t fill it with food, relationships, booze, drugs, movies, TV, video games or unconscious drama. You have enough problems. Be aware that depression is anger turned inwards, so please be careful of what you fill that space with.
5- Grieving is unique to each person. However, generally the grief is most difficult because we are focusing on the past or the future. Neither of these places are reality. Try to stay present. If you don’t meditate – start today.
6- Learn to ask for what you need, and give less of a shit about inconveniencing people, or putting them out.
7- Choose who you talk to. Everyone says they want to know HOW you are…but they don’t really. Telling someone your story of pain and having them look bored or uncomfortable is not a great feeling.
8- Keep a journal. It’s the only sure way to express yourself without annoying feedback – (ie: “Oh…I know just how you feel”. No dammit – you don’t. Just like I don’t know how you feel.
9- When the pain feels so bad that you are going to burn up inside, try and sit with it. Don’t avoid it – don’t DO something else or THINK something else. Just be with the pain. It will make it go away faster. Remember, the point we are trying to reach is acceptance and that can’t happen through avoidance.
10- Cry whenever the hell you want. Wherever you want. However you want. It cleans out your insides.
11- Pray like hell. Maybe you’re not religious, but if you’re in enough pain – you will know exactly what I mean by this.
12- Keep doing the things you love – your grief is only a PART of you – it’s not EVERYTHING you are. Put it aside sometimes, and do something that totally turns you on.
13- Find someone you trust, and call them every day. Don’t go into that place alone – or as my mother used to say, when going into your own head and thoughts…”Don’t visit that neighbourhood alone – it’s a dangerous and scary place. Bring a friend”.
** Most important – if you begin to feel hopeless, suicidal, and this goes on for “too long” (you decide)…please contact a professional and see if they can help you put things into perspective. You matter to allot of people – although you may not feel like it all the time. Let someone help you remember…
A note to those of you supporting someone who is grieving:
1- I’m sure you know but I’ll say it again – it is NOT helpful to say “You know exactly what I’m going through” cause that is not possible. Everyone has a unique experience. Just be quiet and listen.
2- DO make food and make sure your loved one is keeping their basics up. Being physically down doesn’t help anything.
3- DO make happy plans and suggestions that can help bring the colour back to your loved-one’s face
4- Plan on spending time listening, without saying anything “helpful”. Try to just listen without giving your own experience. Just be there. Presence is a true act of love. YOu don’t have to do anything more.
5- Keep unnecessary stresses away from your loved one if possible like enthusiastic Jehovah’s witnesses at the door or maybe take over paying bills for a while, or something else that can clear up the time for your loved one to just be quiet and have their space.
6- Family’s should make a plan and work together to support each other. Communication in a family has to be more deliberate and open when someone or many are in the pain of grief.
7- Employers need to realize that employees wont be functioning at full capacity for a year.
8- Pray – every little bit helps.
9- BE PATIENT – this is the foremost focus for you. Your love done will go through mood swings that make Coney island look like shuffle board. Try not to be RE-active.
10- Take care of yourself as well! Focus on making sure you have the space and time to handle this intensity with your loved one.
Since my Mother’s death, I have seen and heard so many people going through difficult stages of watching people they love die or are in the emotions of grief. I don’t know how long this lasts, I just know that some days it feels endless and some days are ok.
Take these suggestions and everything else in your life – ONE DAY AT A TIME. Cause it’s all we have .